If you have spent some time organizing the toys in your child’s playroom (sorting the blocks from the tiny doll clothing, discovering loner puzzle pieces, organizing the crayons and the markers, throwing out broken yo-yos) you know you can take a breather and enjoy a clean room— for just a moment, that is.
Most of us know that toys multiply seemingly while we sleep.
Birthday parties, goodie bags and holiday gifts provide a flow of cumbersome toys that seems endless. But you can take charge of the playroom situation by training your friends and family to only purchase clutter-free gifts.
Relatives and friends might at first complain that they want to give “fun” gifts that the kids want to open; they don’t care about the “clutter.” But, if you give them the hard facts that many gifts with too many pieces or complex instructions are actually left unopened, or quickly abandoned, eventually, well-meaning family and friends will listen.
Clutter-free gifts can still be fun and involve wrapping paper and bows. Let people know in advance the hobbies, activities, and interests that your children have and guide your relatives to some of these clutter-free gifts for children:
A membership to a local zoo, museum, children’s museum, planetarium or nature preserve.
Children’s magazines, books or e-books: Let everyone know what types of books your child loves and what books in a series to buy.
College Savings Bonds. Savings bonds are a wonderful investment in the future. And if friends or relatives decide to give a check or cash, older children can start to understand this abstract gift and help prepare a deposit into a savings account.
Gift certificates for a karate, gymnastics or piano lesson can be a great way to have a child try something new or continue with a particular passion.
Tweens and teenagers are especially fond of gift certificates because they can pick out what they really want and need. Gift cards for downloading music or movies, iTunes, manicures, clothing stores, or 3D movie theaters are great clutter-free ideas especially for older children and young adults in the family.